Updated: May 19
On December 27, 2018, I attended the wedding of Kira Schlosberg, Sigma alumnus and one of the original 40 swimmers who helped start Sigma in 2009. This wedding marked the beginning of a new chapter in Kira's life and prompted me to reflect on the journey that we had together. Through our journey together as swimmer and coach, we both grew; Kira as an athlete and me as a coach, both of us grew as people.
The Journey Is Rough
When Kira came to swim for me in 2008, I was coaching for the local YMCA. Her parents gambled on a young coach with few credentials. I had lots of ideas, an unhealthy ego, but a desire for my athletes to be the best. We failed A LOT together and learned that neither of us are perfect. Both of us Type A personalities, we clashed and it was a biweekly occurrence to see us arguing on deck. Nevertheless, we stuck by each other through it all. Kira trusted me as I reworked her technique over and over. I trusted that Kira would continue to have an open mind, work hard, and give me her best.
When we hit plateaus, we worked together to find solutions. We overhauled her stroke, experimented with different types of training, developed a strength program, tuned her mindset by reading sports psychology books like With Winning In Mind, and examined nutrition and sleep habits. We did everything we could as a team to bring out the best version of Kira.
The Journey Is Rewarding
Kira and I navigated unfamiliar territory on our journey together, succeeding and failing as a team. We believed in each other. Most importantly, along this journey, Kira learned the power of belief in oneself.
On July 9, 2011, Kira achieved her Junior Nationals cut in the 100 meter breaststroke in a time of 1:14.20. She was the fastest 100 breaststroke swimmer in North Texas. The accomplishment was the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, perseverance, learning, and belief.
The Journey Is Lifelong
Kira went on to swim for and graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. But the story doesn't end there, and I am so thankful for that.
Today, Kira and I share a lifelong friendship. No longer swimmer and coach, she is now a part of our family as "Aunt Kira." One of my sons calls her Keewa. Those rare times she's in town, we enjoy a meal together where we always laugh about that one summer day that I was yelling in her face as tears welled up behind her goggles... followed by her continuing to defy me and do things Kira's way.
The journey that a coach and swimmer make together can be one that extends years beyond the pool. As we celebrate Sigma's 10th anniversary, my wish is that every Sigma Swimmer will have the opportunity to experience something like what Kira and I have. Thank you Kira and Sigma for the memories we made and the ones we will make.